THE ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY (OAU) TO AFRICAN UNION (AU) THE JOURNEY SO FAR……….
ISSUES AND REASONS FOR REGIONAL INTEGRATIONS
Regional integration is not a new idea or initiative in Africa. Along with the creation of African common market it has been fueling division of African leaders for the past 45 decade. In fact, the creation of the 0rganisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1964 reflected the awareness, by the leaders of the day that Africans strength was rooted in Pan-Africa cooperation.1 The Southern Rhodesia Custom Union was established in 1949 and the East African community in 1967(Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). 2 So far, United Africa has a long history and is the unique product of social and cultural attitude of Africa, today, the African Union (AU) is an entity that continues to work for the integration in the continent to enable it plays its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multi-faceted socio-economic and political problem. The advent of the Organization now known (AU) is described as an advent of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent.3
In a 1959, speech from Kwame Nkrumah, Ideological father of the African Union. He stated that in Ghana, we regard our independence as meaningless unless we are able to use the freedom that goes with it to help other African people to be free and independent, to liberate the entire continent of Africa from foreign dehumanization and ultimately to establish a union of African state. 4”Of all sins Africa can commit, the sins of despair will be most unforgivable……..unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for –Africa and the African people to be disregarded and humiliated——My generation led Africa to political freedom. The current generation of leadership and people of Africa must pick up the flickering touch of African freedom to refuel it with their enthusiasm and determination, and carry it forward” 5 (President Nyerere, former President of Tanzania at the 40th anniversary of Ghana’s independent,1997)
The historical foundations of African Union originated in the union of African States. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established on May 25th 1963. 6 It remained the collective voice for the continent until 2002.The intended purpose of the OAU was to promote the unity and solidarity of the African States in a time of independent movements. The OAU also aimed to ensure that all African States enjoy human right, raise the living standard of all Africans and settle arguments and dispute between member states. 7
In the charter of the Organization of African Unity adopted in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, African States became committed to work together to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and effort to achieve a better life for the people of Africa. The OAU Struggle to enforce its decision and its lack of an army made it difficult to intervene in civil wars and countries struggling with colonialism. The policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states also restricted the OAU in achieving its goals. Consensus was difficult to achieve within the organization. The French colonies, the Pro-capitalist and the Pro-socialist faction during the cold war, all had their agenda and made it very difficult to reach an agreement on what had to be done. Through the difficulties and struggles the OAU endured, it still provides a forum that enabled member states to adopt coordinated positions on the matter of common concern. For example, through the OAU coordinating committee for the liberation of Africa, the organization worked and succeeded in forging a consensus in support of liberation struggle and the fight against apartheid. 8
1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The African Union was formed to cater for the needs and aspiration of member states amongst the various set objectives
*Achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the other people of Africa
*Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its member states
*Accelerate the political and socio- economic integration of the continent
*Promote and defend African common position on issues of interest to the continent and its people
*Encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the charter of the United Nation and the check of human rights.
*Work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent
*To promote democratic principle and institutional popular participation and good governance and also protect human and people’s right in accordance with African charter on human and people right and other relevant human rights instrument.
*Establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and international negotiations.
*Promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural level as well as the integration of African economies
*Promote cooperation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standard of African people
*Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent. 9
The wish of the founders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was largely informed by the desire of Pan-Africanist who believed that it is the only full political unity that will end the Pan-African struggle. Apart from the of lack of a common culture and language that divides African states there is more fundamental problem of lack of effective leadership in the search for unity.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is very significant in the sense that it sought to look at the peaceful transformation of the African Union from the Organization of African Unity. The role of the Organization of African Unity in the socio-economic, political and cultural well being of the African cannot be over emphasizes, so therefore, any study that will encompass the organization of African Unity and her transformation to this modern union in a shrinking globalized world where all political and frontier barriers are being broken down is very significant, because it will shed more light on the polemics of this union
1.4 SCOPE OF STUDY
This research work shall essentially be limited to the Organization of African Unity (OAU), her aim and objective and factors that precipitated to her transformation from Organization of African Unity (OAU) to African Union (AU) it shall therefore pre-suppose that this study shall cover the period of 2003 when the original idea of African Union was limited
1.5 PROBLEMS OF THE STUDY
The problem this researcher encountered were basically was that of the refusal of most competent scholars to discuss at length with the researcher. Alongside this was also time constraints because this research work is being embarked upon in conjunction with other academic work, and also the researcher was faced the problems of funds because among areas visited was the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, V.I. Lagos, the Ministry of Foreign affairs, Abuja, ECOWAS secretariat, Abuja and the A.U, Office also in Abuja. Be that it may be, the challenges were quite interesting and the researcher believes that they were worth the while.
This research shall adopt a two way analysis. It shall be using the primary and the secondary source of data collections and analysis. The primary source shall rely heavily on materials of people in the diplomatic spheres and scholars in foreign policy, while secondary source shall rely heavily on journals, books, magazines, published work and other media materials of day to day research.
1.7 LITERATURE REVIEW
Books are the major important tool in any research work; it is therefore interactive that literature pertaining the work shall be consulted. Conflict expert agree that to completely resolve a conflict, its root cause have to be removed first. It was in this regard that the African Union Partner with the United Nations (UN), having recognized the link between war and poverty. As Africa has started going into close cooperation with regional Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU).A Nigerian diplomat to the African Union, Shinkaiye in his book “Nigeria and the African Union, Role and Expectations in which the situations that transpire before it was changed from Organization of African Unity (OAU) to African Union (AU) discussed extensively the entire process of the transformation. 10
Akinsanya 11 this book laid more emphasis on the importance of transforming from Organization of African Unity to African Union In the year 2002.Another scholar Oyobaira in a book written by him “Political Stability and African Union ”. 12 In another book, Nigeria, the AU and the Challenge of Regional Integration by a renowned senior researcher, Oche in the division of International law also contributed to the study of the transformation of Organization of African Unity (OAU) to African Union (AU).13
The contribution of Olokun, an economist cannot be overlooked in the quest of the Journey so far of the Organization of African Unity to African Union, his contribution through a material.”The role of Nigeria in the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) the material gives us an opportunity to
(1)Revisit AU/NEPAD perspective for effective knowledge.
(2)Take another look at the status of the integration in Africa in terms of progress so far.
(3)Present some key challenges faced and explore possible solutions.
(4) Impact of relationship between the Europe and Africa Regional Organization on rural livelihood on the continent.
(5) A call to Europe to write towards effective partnership with African especially its regional bodies.14
Another review to be considered here is the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in its two reports on assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA 1&2) issued in 2004 and 2006 15 respectively, provide a deep analysis as well as a detailed picture of what constitutes the current situation of regional integration in Africa.
Kusa is a political scientist who, in her book “Nigeria and the Challenges of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism(APRM) 16 also talks about the importance of (NEPAD) in the growing of the African Union(AU) and the mechanism for review which provide the means of monitoring progress toward good economic, cooperate and political government in Africa including challenges.
Notes and References
1. Maitre Abdoulaye wade, “Francophone and Anglophone Divide Approach to Sub-regional security and Development in the next decade”, being text of lecture delivered at the inauguration ceremony of the 13th Regular Course of the National War College of Nigeria, held at the College Auditorium. See details in New Soja (Abuja, Directorate of Army, Public), 6th issue, 2004, pp.94-96
2. Maitre Op. Cit
3. Brownson Dede, “The Evolution of the African Union”, in the African Union in the African Union and the Challenges of Co-operation and integration: Proceedings of the National Seminar (Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited, ©Federal Ministry of Cooperation and integration in Africa, 2002)
4. UNDP, Africa: Human Development report, 2003
5. Bola A. Akinterinwa ( ed.,) Nigeria’s national Interest in a Globalizing World: Further Reflections on Constructive and Beneficial Concentricism (Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2005), forthcoming
6. New Soja (Abuja), Sixth Issue, 2004, p.94
7. See AU Press Release, No. 062/2003, Addis Ababa, July 31, 2003
8. Akinjide Osuntokun “An Academic in Government: Reflection on my Service in the Ministry of External Affairs, 1988-1995”, in Bola A. Akinterinwa (ed.), Nigeria’s New Foreign Policy Thrust: Essays in Honour of ,Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji, CON (Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2004), p.42
9. Bola A. Akinterinwa, “Africa in Nigeria’s Foreign Policy, 1960-2005: Beyond Forty-Five Years of Unwavering Commitment” (Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2005)
10. J.K. Shinkaiye, “Nigeria’s Role in Shaping the African union” in the African Union and the Challenges of Co-operation and Integration: Proceedings of the National Seminar(Ibadan: Spectrum Books limited, © Federal Ministry of Co-operation and integration in Africa, 2002), p.18
11. Olusegun Akinsaya, “Nigeria at the African Union” (Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2005)
12. Sam Oyovbaire, “ Political Stability and the African Union: 2002-2005” (Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2005)
13. Ogaba Oche, “Nigeria, The AU and the Challenge of Regional Integration” (Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2005)
14. Isaac Aluko-Olokun, “The Role of Nigeria in the New partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)”, (Ibadan, Vantage Publishers, 2005)
15. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, “Nigerian and the Challenge of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)”, (Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2005)
16. Kusa op cit